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Members of the RC of Kardinia, source Facebook page


Barbara Mifsud, Regional Membership Officer —

This club has grown its membership from 37 to 48. How? By making sure it meets members where they are at.

Article by Barbara Mifsud, Regional Membership Officer

The Rotary Club of Kardinia in D9780 Victoria, in the scenic Geelong area, is turning 30 this June and the club is even more hopeful for the future. During the last 5 years, despite the challenges that COVID has brought, the friendly breakfast club has managed to grow its membership from 37 to 48. In 2019-2020 alone, the club grew its membership by net 7 (13%). Equally inspiring is that the club maintained a 100% new member retention rate for most of the 5 years and an extremely high retention rate for existing members.

The club definitely has its finger on the membership pulse and as President Ben Systermans explains, largely due to regularly surveying its members. ‘Not only do we send a yearly satisfaction survey to all of our members, but we also send a number of short, topical surveys to try to understand what our members think’, he says. ‘In the last five years we’ve sent out a total of 8 surveys: 4 general satisfaction surveys and 4 topical surveys’. The general survey, adapted from the RI member satisfaction survey and administered through Survey Monkey, asks about satisfaction in the club’s activities, projects and meetings. The topical surveys asked about things like meeting format post COVID and whether members have brought along a prospective member recently.

The survey results are compiled and analysed, building on from previous years. They are presented to the club’s board for further action, while a high-level summary is shared with members. The results are used in planning meetings for the incoming president and the various committees, while feeding into the club’s four year strategic plan.

‘Generally, our survey results are pretty good, but there is always something to improve’ explains President Ben. An area for improvement which kept appearing each year is member education and orientation, which they have been working hard on. Their work is reflected in the resulting high retention rates.

An interesting survey result was that club members wanted to keep the national anthem in the club meeting program. This posed a challenge for the club who also wanted to make itself more attractive to prospective members. As a compromise, the club now plays an alternative version of the anthem sung in an indigenous language. This keeps members satisfied but also demonstrates to members and visitors that the club is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Download various Rotary International membership assessment tools and make them your own. Tools include: member satisfaction survey, exit survey, retention assessment analysis, member diversity assessment and prospective member exercise.